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5 MSC Cruises MSC Orchestra Cruise Reviews for Group and Theme Cruises to Caribbean - Eastern

The ship is nice and the balcony cabines are looking good also. The food was low cost quality. The strongest point of this cruise was the staff, with special remarks for Miguel, the waiter in cigar bar. Ship and entertainment ... Read More
The ship is nice and the balcony cabines are looking good also. The food was low cost quality. The strongest point of this cruise was the staff, with special remarks for Miguel, the waiter in cigar bar. Ship and entertainment information are delived on board daily. Trips organized are expensive and is better to do your own programm on each stop, according to your preferences. Dinning in a la carte restaurants is for people having patience to be served with medium quality dishes. Overall it wasn't bed, but didn't meet our expectations. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Ok, we just came back from the MSC Orchestra Caribbean cruise and I must say it was fantastic! What a great time and what a great ship! All those who have complained about the food, service, friendliness, etc. of the ship, I am not sure if ... Read More
Ok, we just came back from the MSC Orchestra Caribbean cruise and I must say it was fantastic! What a great time and what a great ship! All those who have complained about the food, service, friendliness, etc. of the ship, I am not sure if you were sailing on the same boat as the rest of us. I would tend to agree with a few of the other critics here that the rudest people I encountered were the guests (all nationalities I must say). For some reason people seem to think the crew are their personal servants, yelling at them for utensils at the buffet line when they are clearly directly in front of them, yelling at the staff cleaning tables to get the manager because they were not being served self serve drinks and most appalling hearing one guest actually tell a staff member to go back to China because he couldn't meet the guests ridiculous demands. Though these were only a few minor observances, unfortunately you get these stupid people no matter where you go. Let's get to the good stuff! This was our 12th cruise and 1st with MSC. I always sail with my wife and two boys (now 8 years and 17 years). Though the kids clubs are a bit less involved than other cruises our kids don't use them anyway, so I can't really comment on that. Other than the teens took over the Disco each night which seemed to be one of the nicest clubs on the boat with a great bar you couldn't access. It was to be adults only after 9pm, however this was never enforced. We also decided to take a group of 28 other friends with us this time around; the majority were first time cruisers. What a great ship and itinerary to break them into cruising! They all have been raving about how much fun this was and how beautiful the ship was. SHIP: Clean, clean, clean. MSC Orchestra really has a beautiful setup, a bit different than other ships we have sailed with. The floor plan winds you around each deck allowing you to meander in a relaxing stroll through the shop, lounge and dinning areas. One major difference on this ship was that there are no main atrium elevators mid-ship. They have a beautiful 4 deck waterfall in which nightly music was played by live acoustic bands on a small stage within the waterfall pond. Unfortunately the ship never had the waterfall working. One unique thing, though it may sound strange, is that the restrooms all had a 'For Children Only' stall. It was a little larger with a smaller sink within the stall for the kids. I found this to be very unique and a nice touch for those traveling with family. SMOKING: As for smoking MSC has tried to cut down on the smoking areas within the ship. It was most noticeable in the Shaker Lounge, Casino and of course the Cigar Bar (which if you like cigars this was a fun and unique addition to the ship. Say hello the Beni for me!). Up on the pool decks the smokers seems to stay near the window seats and the pool areas were relatively smoke free. It would be nice to see a few less areas indoors that allow smoking, hopefully in time. FOOD: Having been on 12 cruises now I have not found one cruise to be fantastic when it comes to mass dinning food. I would say that MSC was comparable to food I have had on Disney, Carnival or Royal Caribbean. One thing to keep in mind if you want your steak done medium, order it medium rare. Medium seems to be Well Done on this ship. With any ship a few featured plates stand out as very good. The lamb was excellent! Leg of lamb as well as the lamb chops were my favorite. If you really want a bit more elegant and made to order dinning the Shanghais Chinese restaurant was wonderful! Prices were by dish and at a price point similar to a standard restaurant of an average of $8.00 per dish. The food was very flavorful and one of the best reserved dinning on a cruise ship I have experienced. The buffets were laid out nicely with lunch service being served on both sides of the ships restaurant. One side of the ship with more hot dishes such as carved roast beef (was awesome!), carved pork, ham and veal, fish dishes, Italian specialties, pasta, etc. The other side more traditional American fair such as burgers and dogs, fries, etc. The burgers were by far the best cruise ship burgers I have had. The salad bar was also one of the largest I have seen on a ship, very nice. All the food was well presented and labeled nicely as to what was in each dish and the country of its origin. There are two main buffet stations, one forward of the restaurant and the other towards the back, both serving the same food. The crowds were all at the front buffet and many guests did not seem to realize that if they walked a little further no one was in the back of the restaurant. We did this each morning and at lunch and never had to wait in a line of more than 5 people for food. Pizza bar was great and the pizza was very tasty. The Gelato Bar was molto bene! The coffee gelato especially. Being from New England we like our coffee milk, coffee ice cream, coffee shakes and this coffee gelato was great! CABINS: No complaints. We had an outside window and it was comparable to other ships, other than Disney that has the largest I have ever seen. The porthole style window was large enough for me to sit in (5'11", 210 lbs), very nice! SERVICE: In general I can say everyone was a pleasure to speak to and all were very helpful. No one was ever rude. At times some crew members may take a minute to register what you are saying, but this is a typical language barrier thing and as long as you understand that cruise ships are full of a wide variety of nationalities it all works out fine. I too was impressed with the multilingual experience of the crew. Our waiter and assistant waiter were phenomenal! They were a bit stiff on the first night (think they were nervous), but once we got to talking with them they really opened up and we had a great time joking and learning about each others cultures. Dinning each night was a typical 2-hours, but never longer than this. Room Steward was great. Very courteous and always had a smile. He was great with our kids and always made sure we had fresh ice and towels. Anytime we left the room he was in cleaning. He must have cleaned our room 5 times a day!! POOL: We did spend a great deal of time at the pools and hot tubes as a group. Yes, chairs were hard to come by, but again, having been on 12 cruises this is the same on any ship, especially with the days at sea. Everyone goes to the people and you always have discourteous people who block off chairs for the day. This is unfortunate, but you need to make the best of difficult situations. We just put our towels at the benches pool side and jumped in and sat in the great wading areas around the pool. It was truly very nice, relaxing and helped keep you cool during the hot days. I did not notice the pools themselves to be crowed to the point you couldn't go in for a dip and I did not find anyone in the pool areas to be discourteous, rude or unsafe as one critic stated. Yes, people were sitting around the pool with drinks and beer, but everyone we saw and talked to were polite, being cautious and enjoying themselves. I did not see anyone who was drunk or disorderly at the pool. There was none of the rowdy party crowd you see on other cruise lines either; i.e. Carnival. Even the kids seemed to be well mannered for the most part. As for the one person who stated more management of the pool areas should have been done, I am not sure I agree and if it was so bad why did this person not tell the staff when she was on the ship? ENTERTAINMENT: The shows each night were terrific! Some of the best entertainment I have seen on a cruise. Very talented entertainers and well choreographed shows. For those complaining about 'thongs' and your poor children's eyes, get them out of the closet, take the blinders off and get them cultured! This was nothing different than if you went to a Rockets at Radio City Music Hall in NYC or any other Broadway or Vegas style show. Their was more skin on the pool deck that in the nightly entertainment. As for deck side entertainment this was much less than other cruises, but was there if you wanted something to do. Typical trivia contests, putting contests, Bingo, etc. Otherwise this was more a relax and kick your feet up cruise. First ship I have seen with a full tennis court. It was funny to eat breakfast in the back of the ship and occasionally see a tennis ball fall down to the back dinning deck. PORTS of CALL: Great stops and great weather! The only complaint is I wish we had more time in places like Nassau, Antigua, and St. Martin etc. Only 5-hours (4 for getting on and off the ship) is not much time .maybe MSC can cut one stop out to give more time to the other ports of call? We had a great time in each port and only one stop in the D.R. was tendered and this went extremely smooth. Very well managed by the crew, two thumbs up!! Shopping in Nassau is always a good time and the Straw Market proved to be the best stop as always. 3 designer bags for $30 - $35 each was fun to barter for for the lady's and the people are so friendly. If you have never experienced the Nassau Straw Market you need to check it out. EMBARKATION and DEBARKATION: Both were very quick, easy and run smoothly. MSC does need to put a little money into their cruise terminal as it is currently run through a warehouse, but it was done very well. We were on and off the ship very quickly and this was one of the easiest of any cruise line we have done. Taxis are not that easy to get from the terminal when leaving. I would suggest arranging transportation before you get on the boat for when you return, either through your hotel, a bus transfer through MSC or a call ahead taxi or car service. OVERALL: A great experience and we would sail MSC again. This is certainly a different kind of cruising with a more relaxed European feel. Be prepared to do nothing and enjoy every minute of it!! Great job MSC and with a few more tweaks I think you will be able to carve a unique niche in the U.S. cruise market!! P.S. MSC = Folded towel animals and a chocolate on the pillow are little cruise extras that can help you go that extra mile! hint, hint Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
We looked forward to trying an Italian cruise line without any preconceptions. We have cruised for many years and have been on most of the cruise lines during our more than 25 trips. We found a company who didn't care what happened to ... Read More
We looked forward to trying an Italian cruise line without any preconceptions. We have cruised for many years and have been on most of the cruise lines during our more than 25 trips. We found a company who didn't care what happened to us while on a vacation. We booked a cabin with a balcony at the very back of the ship. Never did that before. We loved the quiet and the need to walk to our cabin. Gave us some exercise. The cabin was nice with lots of places to store our stuff. The ship is beautiful but it is hard to find the bathrooms which are tucked into corners. There is so much brass that there are several people who only shine the brass all day long. When walking down the staircases you get the polish onto your hands. Not a big deal. Our itinerary was flawed. We were in Nassau for just a couple of hours. We pulled into Antigua at 5 pm supposedly because there was another MSC cruise ship in that port and we had to wait for them to leave. We were supposed to get into that port at 2 PM also very late, but 5 PM is ridiculous. The cruise line wouldn't cancel the tours, so our friends had to go, in the night, to tour the rain forest. They returned to the ship to no food unless they wanted to pay for a drink or ice cream. They close the kitchen at 9:00 PM. You cannot even get room service unless you want some chocolate covered strawberries or drinks. (which you have to pay for) They have some midnight buffets, but not all of us stay up that late. We had first seating so after looking for food the first night and being told we couldn't get anything except coffee or tea we started hoarding food in our cabin. Food on board was OK. Very small portions in the dining room but mostly OK. Several meals I had the steak because I didn't like what they had on the menu, which was done properly. I have to say that the two shining lights of the crew were our room steward Ida, and the assistant Maitre D Mario. Both went out of their way to make us happy. We went to their "private island" where we had to pay for everything we ate or drank. It turns out that the island is not private, such as NCLs, but is rented from Dominican Republic and the natives want to make money by charging us for food and drinks. We went back to the ship for lunch. The shows and music were shaded toward a European audience not an American one. There was one night of Opera, another of concerto and one very good magician. Not usually my taste but he was good. There were lots of places to sit and drink but the lounges had 1940's music with very little to dance to. Also, lots of smoke in the lounges and casino. We were with a group of about 350 people with our own shows and entertainment, thank goodness. The casino rules are European not American which can be very confusing. There were not enough 1 cent and 5 cent machines so people had to line up to use them. The crew was surly, rude and never smiled. Everyone agreed that they were cold and aloof. When you complained about, even something small, they did not help but gave you a hard time. Nothing was easy everything was your fault. When I had a question about my internet account they never got back to me and eventually I found that the rude, nasty person at reception was ill prepared and gave me a very hard time. The instructions that were given to me about how to use the internet were not complete and they insisted that it was my fault. OK, the $50 won't hurt me but it is just one more reason I would not use this line again. Finally, when we disembarked no one told us that we were in a different part of the port and couldn't find where our car was located. We finally had to call emergency and they told us we had to take a bus to our car. There is such a lack of communication. Obviously, our expectations were not met and we came away with a very bad taste from the indifference and callousness of this cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
We booked this cruise because of the Concerts at Sea concerts on board. Last year it was on Costa. My review on that one is already posted. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale and stayed at the Atlantic Resort - an upscale resort we found through ... Read More
We booked this cruise because of the Concerts at Sea concerts on board. Last year it was on Costa. My review on that one is already posted. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale and stayed at the Atlantic Resort - an upscale resort we found through the internet. We were very pleased. Saturday, the 17th, we left for the port hoping for a good week, in spite of the bad reviews of the Orchestra. We arrived around 12:10 and had a line to wait in, but it went fairly fast. We went to our room and checked it out. Not much space, but of course we knew that already. Lunch was to be served in the buffet from 12:00 to 3:00. We were still waiting for the lines to open up at 1:30, when they finally did. We had a very large crowd by then wanting to eat. Seats were very hard to find by that time. They changed our dinner seating to 5:30 but kept the late seating at 8:30. Don't know the reason for this, but it caused many inconveniences with port calls being AFTER 5PM. The dinner was not very hot and the waiters mixed up things a lot. We objected to the couches we were told to sit in, and were told to "Get here earlier tomorrow". Did not appreciate that attitude as we hadn't been rude when we objected. The couches are rounded and hard to get into. The first night's entertainment was Midnight in Paris. It was a line of ladies in skimpy outfits walking around (not dancing) the stage. At the end they did a can can dance with "canned" music. No orchestra, and no singing. A man dressed in drag took the stage while the ladies pranced around and had body parts that sprouted out from his "body". It seemed in poor taste to me, but then I like dancing and singing. Our concert at sea group had a welcome aboard and singing by the Chancellor's & Stacy Wayne (Elvis) who did a wonderful job. We went to bed early tonight, because we were tired. Sunday was a sea day. We We ate in the buffet, but again, the food was cold and had been sitting on a hot plate for a while, which made it hard in spots, especially the waffles and breads. We had a concert at 1:30 for Paul Revere and the Raiders. They were even more wonderful than last year and the "baby raider" Darren was great. A few of the entertainers had brought family and it was fun to meet up with them around the ship. Tonight was gala night with the Captain. We had a few drinks and went to dinner. Not much to brag about again. Most of the wait staff were from Indonesia and did not speak much English. The theater had Circusland tonight. If you have seen Circusolay (?) before, you know what it was. I left before it was over. Again, went to bed early. Monday was Cayo Levantado. We went to the beach and had a nice day. The food was overly priced. A hot dog, hamburger and 2 soda pops was $15.00. The buffet was $15 pp and did not seem worth it. They had drinks in coconuts and pineapples for $8 each. We tendered into the island. We were #1 but it took us about an hour to get off the ship as Nos. up to 5 & 6 were crowding into the hallways and no one was doing anything about it. No organization. Dinner was again nothing special. I must however comment that we had ideal tablemates who took turns taking the couch seats. Very delightful people to converse with as well. The entertainment tonight from MSC was Concerto - again all Italian. We went to Bobby Vee and the Vee's. Wonderful entertainment from C@S. Then dance lessons at 9PM. An early night once again. Tuesday we arrived at St. Maarten. 1-8PM. We met up with a group of friends we made aboard with C@S and went to Orient Beach. Had a relaxing day until around 3:30 when we returned to the ship. We did not get there until 1PM though, so we did not get as much sun as we would have liked. C@S had a cocktail party tonight. Nice party! Lots of drinks! FREE! Then we had a Dance Party which we did not leave until Midnight. MSC had a magic act, but we did not attend. I should tell you that two nights MSC had a midnight buffet of different items. Tonight they had Mexican buffet. We all would eat and sit around talking until very early in the morning after dancing all night. Wednesday was Antigua, St. John. Wasn't much shopping there and we only walked into town and back to the ship. A 2-hour tour was running for $100. We had from 7AM till 2PM on this island. Dean Torrence from Jan & Dean fame was on tonight at 7:30 and I waited through Dinner to get a good seat for this one. Loved Jan & Dean. The band was wonderful as well. MSC had opera tonight. Maybe I am just not worldly enough, but there sure was a lot of Italian going on. Most cruise ships try to do a variety. We danced again till Midnight and had a super sandwich buffet. Thursday was a Sea day. We had an early concert with the Guess Who - great again! Although they are a little more 70's than 60's for me. Just lazed the day away and got to dinner tonight. I was ordering off the "always available" menu a lot this week. The spaghetti was great and HOT! The MSC show tonight was Celtic Spirit, so at 8PM we went to an autograph session with all the groups and had a great time talking with them and their bands and family. It did not end until 11PM, so I went to bed tonight. Friday, we had a C@S concert with Bill Haley's original Comets. They were terrific. We arrived in Nassau around 3PM and were finally off the ship around 3:20. Since dinner was 5:15, we skipped it on the ship and had dinner at Atlantis, where we showed our new friends all the sights. Of course the casino took their interests mostly. I must say that the hamburger at Atlantis was the best meal all week. The MSC entertainment for tonight was Singing under the Moon, but no one really sang, they just panomined. We went to the dance again where we had our final dance and said our sad good-byes to all the friends we made this week. If it hadn't been for Concerts at Sea, we would not have anything really good to say about this cruise. On the last night they locked up the mini bar at 6PM but we hadn't used it anyway. The next morning when we got our bill, there was a $19.20 charge for mini bar. The room stewart had neglected to refill it from last cruise. It was a lot a little things like this that messed with your good nature. There are real attitudes among the staff, seemingly against Americans. Don't know why, but there it is. Not trying to discourage anyone, but I would not go back for a while, if ever. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
Well, here goes.  I traveled on MSC Orchestra for a Rock and Roll Cruise.  If it weren't for the included concerts and activities provided for this special curise, i would have been sleeping all of the time.  1.  The food was the ... Read More
Well, here goes.  I traveled on MSC Orchestra for a Rock and Roll Cruise.  If it weren't for the included concerts and activities provided for this special curise, i would have been sleeping all of the time.  1.  The food was the worst.  I could not imagine it.  I lost 2 pounds.  Many others complained about the food.2.  The room was ok but I never knew who my room steward was.  3.  The staff was only 3 weeks old.  They did not have any experienced staff to help.  It seemed like everytime you asked a question, they could not answer you,  They acted like they were totally confused.  4.  For the side trips, there were totally unorganized.  Always running late and loosing information that was sent to them from the travel agency for our side trips.5.  You never knew who the cruise director was or the cruise directors staff was.  6.  Never saw the ships Captain.7.  There was a musty smell on the decks where the rooms were.  I felt sleepy all of the time.I heard nothing but complaints from almost everyone.  The travel agency was going to use MSC for another Rock and Roll Cruise in 2010 but decided against it.  The best was the waiter staff.  Always on the ball, courteous and very helpful.  Could not have asked for better. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
MSC Orchestra Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 4.0 3.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.4
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.3
Family 3.0 3.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 2.0 2.8
Service 3.0 3.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.3
Rates 4.0 3.9

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